"They say most of your brain shuts down in cryo-sleep. All but the primitive side; the animal side… no wonder I'm still awake. Heard an Arab voice, some hoodoo holy man, probably on his way to New Mecca. But what route? Smelled a couple of women. One - sweat, boots, tool belt, leather. Prospector type. And they only take the back roads. The other smelled of roses with just a hint of the filthy alley ways of some shit-hole planet. Heard a small jingle of bracelets as she walked by; so I'm gonna guess a dancer. And here's my real problem. Mr. Johns, the blue eyed-devil himself. Plannin' on taking me back to slam, only this time, he picked a ghost lane. A long time between stops. A long time for something to go wrong."
Gypsy Rose Johnson stared at the giant of a man in the cryo-tube across from hers. Cryo never worked on her, and she doubted it would work on the blindfolded convict. She wore a white, short sleeve top that ended just two inches below her breasts. And a long, brown, flowing skirt that stopped at her ankles. A charm anklet was on her left foot. Her long black hair was pulled back in a tight braid that went down to her waist.
'Richard B. Riddick,' she thought slowly as she looked the man over, 'How did a man like you get caught by a man like Johns?'
Everyone knew that Johns had been chasing Riddick all over the universe for two years. He had finally caught him in the Lupus system; killed two children to get to him.
'And to think I believed him when he had stated, "I'll never get caught." What I wouldn't give to kick his ass right about now.'
I know something is about to happen, I just wish I knew what.
Rose watched as golf ball sized, flaming rocks tore through the ship. She could hear the alarms of the Hunter-Gratzner go off and the flat line of the captain's cryo-tube signifying his death. She watched as two crew members fell from their cryo chambers. She recognized them as the navigator, Greg Owens; and the docking pilot, Carolyn Fry.
"Why did I fall on you?," Owens asked in shock as he got off of Fry.
"He's dead," Fry said, coughing, "The captain's dead. I was looking right at him."
Owens didn't seem to hear her as he checked his chrono. "The chrono shows we're 22 weeks out," he stated, "So – so gravity wasn't supposed to kick in for another 19. Why'd I fall at all?!"
Fry became frustrated at not being heard and repeated herself, "Did you hear what I said? The captain is dead."
The two of them stared at each other as though just realizing that they were now responsible for all the passengers on the ship. When they broke from their trance, they made a mad dash for the cockpit. Each one grabbed a pair of warm-up suits; pulling them while trying to asses the damages done to the Gratzner.
"Just tell me we're still in the shipping lanes," Owens prayed as he took his place in front of the monitors in the navigation bay, "Just show those stars."
"Fifteen hundred fifty millibars dropping twenty MB per minute," Fry muttered to herself, "Shit! We're hemorrhaging air. Something got us good."
From the navigation bay, Owens was trying to contact The Company. "This is an emergency dispatch from the merchant vessel Hunter Gratzner en route to Tangier system with forty commercial passengers onboard. We have been knocked out of our shipping lane and are currently entering the atmosphere of a planetary body…" Owens then realized that no one was responding and yelled up at Fry, "Where the hell's our comms?!"
Fry didn't answer as she began closing the jettison doors throughout the ship. She flipped a security switch and pulled the red purge handle down. The sudden weight shift sent both her and Owens rocking in their seats.
"What the…Was that a purge Fry?" Owens asked over the communication unit.
"We're too heavy in the ass end," Fry replied, "I can't get my fucking nose down!"
A metallic hiss behind him made Owens turn to see the heavy jettison doors sliding shut behind him, separating the Nav Bay from the passenger compartment. It only took him a second to realize what Fry planned on doing. She was going to dump the passenger cabin just to save her own ass.
"Fry," he called over the headset, "What the hell are you doing? Company says we are responsible for those passengers."
"Company's not here," Fry retorted, "I tried everything and I still don't have a horizon."
"Well you'd better try everything twice." Owens stated.
"Look," Fry tried to reason, "If you know something I don't then get your ass up here and take this chair."
"Don't you touch that handle, Fry!" he yelled as he looked for something to prop the jettison doors open.
"I'm dying for them," Fry muttered through clenched teeth and tried to pull the purge latch. When nothing happened she screamed in frustration, "Owens!"
"You got twenty seven seconds to get this beast leveled out," Owens announced calmly.
Back in the passenger compartment, Rose was doing everything she could to get out of her cryo locker as she was running out of air.
"Fuck!" she yelled as she started to kick and punch at the heavy doors. "Finally," she muttered as the doors slid open and she fell to the hard metal floors.
"What's goin' on?" Rose looked to her left and saw Johns looking at her.
"I think the captain's dead," she replied, "I saw Owens and Fry but I didn't see the captain." The two of them looked around and noticed that the air lock doors on both ends of the passenger cabin were shutting.
"What the hell?" Johns muttered, "Why are the doors shutting!"
"How the fuck should I know?" Rose yelled in response. They felt the ship crash and Johns grabbed onto a support beam and pulled Rose into him before she could fall out as the cabin was torn apart. Sand flew into their faces as they huddled against the beam.
"This your idea of a nice flight?" Rose asked over the thundering turbulence.
"Not really," Johns replied, "Why?" As soon as he said that, the sliding hunk of metal nose-dived into a bolder and flipped. It hit the ground and both Johns and Rose were knocked out.